How would your life and spiritual walk look different if Jesus physically walked and talked with you every day; everywhere you went? Not only would it make a significant difference in the way you spoke and acted, but I believe your entire outlook on following Christ would be dramatically different. One secret to a deeper Christian walk is to practice the presence.
It’s easy to think of God as “up there” while we’re down here. God is “over there,” or He resides in the “house of God,” while we go about our day over here.
Our nomenclature for God’s presence creates subconscious realities that dictate what we believe about Him, and in turn determines how we live the Christian life.
A house is a place where a person resides. When you call a church building the “house of God,” you are segregating Him to that place. I have already discussed why Christians should stop saying this statement in another article so I won’t rewrite it here.
When you preach that Jesus is ascended into heaven, and that God is in heaven, it creates a mental and spiritual block to practicing His presence here and now.
I believe this has led the American church to live in a shallow faith. The church has become impotent in impacting the culture because we have removed the power of His presence in our daily lives.
Many Jesus followers are now living by a set of moral standards, and Christian checklists rather than by His life that dwells within them. Yes, He ascended, but He also sent His Spirit to dwell within us and to empower His body to impact this world here and now.
How To Practice The Presence
To practice the presence you make a conscious decision to be aware of Christ’s presence with you every moment of the day. He walks beside you, and talks to you as if you could physically see him all day, everyday.
In Revise Us Again, Frank Viola gives this illustration in regards to practicing the presence:
This would be akin to drawing my attention to my nose constantly. Although my nose is always with me, I may or may not be conscious of it. It all depends on where my attention is centered.
It may take some getting used to, but when you start to practice the conscious reality that Christ is beside you:
- in your car driving down the street,
- while you’re grocery shopping or making dinner,
- while you’re in your cubicle or office at work,
- when you go for a run, or to the gym,
it begins to deepen your relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter if you are all alone or standing in a crowded room. When you practice His presence everywhere you go, you become more aware of His leading in every situation.
If a person is beside you all day every day, you wouldn’t ignore them. You would converse with them. You would interact with them. Practicing the presence involves conversing with the Lord on a regular basis all throughout the day, just as if His presence was right beside you.
Smith Wigglesworth is attributed with saying:
I don’t often spend more than half an hour in prayer – but I never go more than half an hour without praying.
Practicing the presence is an ongoing conversation. It is a conscious awareness every moment of the day. It is an understanding in the depths of your spirit that the more time you invest in the presence of Christ, the greater you will reflect His life to the world around you.
This is one of the greatest secrets to a deeper life in Christ. If you want to go deeper in your relationship with the Lord, if you want to be a better leader in your home and work, begin by practicing the presence all day, every day.